The House bailed on taking up the plan to erase this year’s state deficit Saturday after the Senate failed to pass it by a veto proof majority, but House Speaker Chris Donovan said Monday that he’s reaching out to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell to see if they can’t work out their differences.
Rell, who is still in Colorado, threatened to veto the bill late Friday night before the bill was even printed. By Saturday her spokesman was saying the veto wasn’t a threat, it was a promise. The bill, according to Rell’s spokesman, contained three times as many tax increases as spending cuts.
Rell’s Budget Director Robert Genuario said Monday afternoon that he doesn’t see why the two sides can’t work together to iron out their differences.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t get together,“ Genuario said.
However, he said he still has concerns about the projected savings Democratic lawmakers believe they can achieve through cutting some of the programs.
To that end, Rell used her executive authority to cut $12 million from the budget Monday.
“To the extent that there are achievable savings contained within the plan offered by the Democrats, I am more than willing to put them into effect as quickly as possible, especially given that only a few months remain before this fiscal year ends June 30,” Rell said in a press release.
“Where there is already agreement, let us act now,” Rell said. “Then let us work together to resolve the remaining problem as quickly and effectively as possible.”
Democratic lawmakers didn’t see Rell’s gesture as an olive branch.
Sen. President Donald Williams said he spoke with Donovan for about 90-minutes Monday, but when the two tried to call Rell they were told she was unavailable.
“If the governor really wanted to eliminate the deficit in 2010 she would sign the bill passed by the Senate,” Williams said in a phone interview.
Williams questioned Rell’s priorities. He wondered why she had time to put out a press release, but didn’t have time to speak with him and Donovan about solving the deficit. As far as the rescissions Rell made Monday, Williams said many of them were “recycled.”
The House could come in and vote on a package as early as this Wednesday, Donovan said Monday. “I wouldn’t discount it at this point.”
Williams said he would continue to urge the House to pass the same package the Senate passed 21-15 early Saturday morning.
“Time is running out to balance this year’s budget and the plan approved by the Senate over the weekend is the best solution on the table,” Williams said in a statement Monday.
“We eliminate the deficit by cutting state spending, increasing receipt of federal funds, and delaying a tax cut for the state’s wealthiest estates. It is time for the House to pass this bill,“ Williams said. “I am also calling for a bipartisan budget meeting with all leaders as soon as the governor returns to Connecticut.”